In 2013, I was given the responsibility of making sure that the Group carries out all the procurement activities in accordance with the Procurement Regulation and Group Procurement policy. My first task was to update the procurement strategy and simplify the processes and procedures to make it easier for the staff to carry out Non-OJEU and OJEU tenders. Some staff in the organisation were not fully conversant with the procurement process therefore I set myself the tasks of creating awareness and explaining benefits of the process. Some of the staff felt very uncomfortable and sometimes stressed out by looking at boxes and folders of PQQ and ITT tender submissions.
Then in early 2015, we decided to buy a procurement portal to enable us to publish PQQ and ITT documents electronically in order to meet the requirement of new Procurement Regulation 2015. During my visit to e-world conference in QEII London, I got the opportunity to meet a number of companies who could provide and implement procurement portal to meet our requirement.
I did some market research and invited proposals from a number of providers. SBHG being a small organisation, we needed a portal, which was not very expensive and could provide basic modules like e-tender and e-evaluation. The proposal provided by In-tend fits all our requirements at very reasonable cost. In-tend’s Business Development and sales Manager was very helpful and flexible, and even amended his original proposal to suit our needs. I would say out of 8 proposals we received, In-tend was the only one which had the flexibility to cater for an organisation like us within our budget.
In-tend provided the perfect solution for us, it’s very simple to use and the staff found it very user friendly. We arranged the training for our key staff who were very impressed with the way training was provided and after the training the staff felt very comfortable with the system.
There were a few teething problems in the beginning which were resolved quickly by In-tend staff. Since implementing the In-tend portal, we have completed successfully around 12 OJEU/non-OJEU projects. We advised all our suppliers to get registered on the portal so that they could be automatically notified of any opportunity and it was very simple for them as well.
In-tend portal has provided us good governance, high level of probity, transparency and audit trail. We have also prepared standard templates and letters which helped the less experienced staff thus saving time during project creation and tender process. The system is linked to the Contract Finder and TED (if OJEU tender) which means the projects are advertised directly through the system.
As it has been just over a year, we have not been able to use all its functionalities; however we hope to use its full potential within next 12-24 months once the staff becomes fully conversant with the system.
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